Trump has gone. I am sure I wasn’t the only one who had one eye on the clock during Biden’s inauguration and breathing a huge sigh of relief once I knew Trump was now ex President. I watched parts of Obama’s inauguration, and of course I have seen pictures, but today was the first time I have watched everyone assemble and then the whole thing unfolding. The flags which replaced the usual crowds were great. Whoever thought that one up deserves recognition. Perhaps it was because it felt as though the flag had been reclaimed by people who don’t want to use it to divide but to unite.
I found the inauguration moving, emotional, and above all hopeful. Biden seems a calm person, a thoughtful person, and I felt by the end of his speech a glimmer of hope for the future, not just for the US but for the rest of us. He doesn’t seem like someone who is going to set on the world on fire, but frankly a world on fire is not what we need. He’s going to be the fireman, not the arsonist. Trump stoked flames, Biden is going to use the embers for a community barbecue.
Kamala Harris had a smile on her face which said it all. Lady Gaga thankfully chose not to perform wearing a dress made from cuts of meat. Yuk. JLo was restrained until she switched briefly into Spanish and her joyful exuberance suddenly bubbled up for everyone to see. Garth Brooks, a Republican, represented the wing of his party that wants to help the healing. I thought Mike Pence looked tense, but I think in his position I probably wouldn’t have slept properly in four years, and not at all for the past fortnight. His attendance today seems to me a positive sign for the future of the Republican Party, which is of course much wider than Trump. I was very tempted to write a sentence about Trump’s massive waistline then, but I managed to overcome it. Just thought I’d mention that.
Melania left the White House in black, and shoes with heels that could be classed as offensive weapons. I’m sure the lawn she walked across would agree. She was shown arriving in Florida in a brightly coloured frock. In an ideal world that will be the last time I ever set eyes on her, or any of the close clan Trump. Let’s hope.
Back to the inauguration. Generations to come will probably be struck by the mask wearing, and it says something about where we are now that the masks seemed entirely normal. I was impressed by the way some of the participants, especially Jill Biden, made sure their masks co-ordinated with their outfits. I was interested that Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton wore trouser suits, and there was a man in a baseball cap. Very un-British! The poet laureate Amanda Gorman, of whom I had never heard before this afternoon, was amazing. In a good way. A very good way. I’m attending the online TS Eliot Prize event on Sunday and I haven’t looked to see who is shortlisted. If she’s not there this year it’s only a matter of time. If you missed her, here’s your chance to catch up.
Stay safe. Keep well. Live in hope.